Friday, July 1, 2011

Platform: Who's Responsibility Is It? by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

On one of my writing loops someone posted a link to a 5-part series blog post on Death of Traditional Publishers? by Author Kris Tuella. While I don't believe traditional publishing is dead, I do believe it is changing and facing some unique challenges and competition that won't go away.

Traditional publishing won't die, but it will have to transform in order to survive. It's a business and true leaders understand that transformations like this happen in every business and industry. Innovative leaders look at this time as a great opportunity. It's a time to try new business models, be creative, and get excited!

Authors need to realize they are a business and it's an exciting time for them as much as anyone else in the industry. So many opportunities are opening up to us that didn't exist before. We now have direct access to our readers regardless of where we live or where they live. The Internet and social media are a new tool that Christian writers can use as a writing ministry.

After reading this series, I thought it was very informative and brought out some perspectives I haven't before considered, so I've posted links at the bottom of this post.

I've always been a staunch advocate of traditional publishers and will continue to be. I love my publishers, Abingdon Press and Barbour Publishing. They've been supportive, helpful, and wonderful to work with. I can't say enough wonderful things about my editors, Ramona Richards and Rebecca Germany. However, I'm also one who believes in computers, online platforms, and author marketing. That said, as an author, I'd be like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand, if I didn't take every advantage of what a traditional publisher can offer me and what I can do in promoting myself, my work, and building my online platform. I view my relationship with them as a partnership.

With the ever-present changing world of publishing, I've got to try and survive--to do my part. It isn't my publisher's job to build my platform. If those days ever existed, they're over. It 's my responsibility to build my platform. And if you're an author, it's also YOUR job.

One thing these articles drive home is the fact that author brands sell books not publisher brands. To borrow from a key point posted by Tuella, no one goes around saying, "I just bought a Random House book." Instead, you'll hear people saying, "I just bought a Karen Kingsbury book."

I've had several individuals on Facebook and at book signings ask me if my books are available on Kindle or the Nook. I'm taking this shift in the publishing market and the growing interest in e-books seriously. I'm already one of "those authors" who sells my books on my website/blog, and my debut novel did better than I anticipated.

After all, I can provide something that no other bookstore can, my own signature and additional goodies and promotional items that some find to be a nice touch. Since I haven't asked for permission to quote this individual, I haven't included a name, but here is a comment I received from a reader who purchased my debut novel, Highland Blessings and posted this comment on The Faith Girls Blog:

"If the readers of this blog don’t win a copy of Highland Blessings, I suggest they order it from Jennifer’s website. I did and the book came with nice personal comments, autographed of course, book marks, a nice personal note on really beautiful Highland Blessings stationery, and a post card. My wife read the note and said, 'Do you know this woman?'"

People notice when you go the extra mile or take a few additional steps to do more than you HAVE to do. They not only, notice, but they remember and appreciate it. They may even promote it to others. 

Below are the promised links to Kris Tuella's blog articles. 

Death of Traditional Publishers?
(Note: These links are to a secular blog)

Part IV - The Game Changer by Robert W. Walker

Part V - The Game Changer by Robert W. Walker (Continued)


Melissa K Norris said...

Great post, Jennifer.

So do you purchase the books directly from your publisher and have a large inventory at your home for the orders that come in through your website?

I love the idea of personalizing it the way you did.

Caroline said...

Jennifer, I enjoyed your post and the links you provided. I'm trying to keep up w/all the e-pubbing info. Who knows when it might be needed. Thanks for a great post.


Diana said...

excellent advice Thanks Jennifer

Caroline said...

Good logic to the author's brand selling the book. As a writer, I tend to look at what publisher published a book, but I didn't pay as much attention to that when I was "just a reader."

I like Melissa question above, too. I'm interested in the answer. Thanks for sharing one of your tactics, Jennifer.

Thanks for this informative post!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I buy from a local bookstore that is a division of my publisher. I get them at 40% off, which is why I'm able offer them at a flat rate of $10, plus shipping. I try to keep 20-30 on hand.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks for the reminder that a personal touch goes a long, long way.